You’ve been to the gym. Your training session is over. You’ve pushed yourself to the limit again, and you’re feeling tired and sore. You feel the tension in your legs, arms, and lower back.
You need a massage.
But before you book an appointment, it’s worth checking out an excellent alternative: the percussion massager.
These small, powerful machines make you feel like you’re getting a professional massage, but it’s even better. And often a person’s hands can’t even deep into the tissues in your muscles, but a percussion or deep-tissue massager can.
What is a Percussion Massager?
A percussion massager is a handheld device that you use to apply pressure deep into your muscle tissues. It uses pulses of concentrated pressure, which feel like a deep-tissue massage.
This can help remove knots and tension in the muscles and improve your range of motion as well as your blood flow.
These massage guns are also known to help reduce recovery time, soreness, and pain.
Additional fitness massage gun benefits:
- Promotes blood circulation
- Relieve swelling and pressure
- Increase flexibility
- Eliminate fatigue
Quick Massage Gun Buying Guide
While we’ll go into detail on all eight options in this percussion massage gun buying guide, here’s a quick list if you’re looking to browse options immediately.
Keep reading for all the details on our favorite massage gun models below.
|Best Value for Money||M3 Pro Massage Gun by Opove|
|Best Advanced||Sonic LX Rotating Massage Gun|
|Best Entry-Level||Mighty Bliss Electric Percussion Massager|
|Best Intensity||PulseFX Rotating Percussion Massager|
|Best Budget-Friendly||Nursal Handheld Massager|
|Best Intermediate||Gocheer Muscle Massage Gun|
|Best All-Around||HealthLab Massage Gun|
|Best Professional Grade||Theragun G3Pro|
Who Should Use a Percussion Massager?
Percussion massages are ideal for helping to ease pains in the shoulder, neck, and back areas and for relaxing muscles that are especially tense.
These handheld machines are ideal for a wide range of people but are especially popular among athletes who want to improve their muscle ability and strength.
Using this device can reduce downtime between training sessions while letting you take a targeted approach to active recovery.
However, athletes and people who work out consistently aren’t the only suitable candidates for a massage gun. These are great for anybody with pain and discomfort.
Think you don’t need a percussion massager? Think again!
This machine is ideal for all kinds of ailments and issues, including:
- Bulging discs
- Herniated discs
- Torn rotator cuff muscles
- Chronic pain
- Pain associated with autoimmune diseases
- Flexibility issues
- Tight hamstrings or quads
- Muscle spasms
- Sore backs from sitting in front of the computer
So whether you’re an athlete looking to speed up your recovery or you want to get the kinks out of your muscles, a percussion massager will get deep down into your aches and pains.
Percussion Massage Gun Benefits
What role does massage play in your recovery? With the right percussion massager, you could recover faster with greater comfort.
Percussion massagers provide deep muscle relief which supports
- Mobility and flexibility
- Pre-workout warmup
- Post-recovery workouts
- Joint pain relief
- And myofascial release
The best part? Massage guns are portable and can be taken anywhere with you, as many come with a carrying case. Take it with you to the gym, your office, a family member’s home, anywhere!
Which Parts of the Body Can the Massager Help Release Tension?
You can use a percussion massager to target just about every muscle group.
- IT band
- Upper and lower back
Percussion massagers generally come with interchangeable attachments that are each geared towards a different muscle group or part of your body — you can target those areas specifically and get deep into those muscles with different attachments.
What to Look for in a Percussion Massage Gun?
There are several things to keep in mind before you buy a massager. Below are some of the most important characteristics to look for.
Attachments – How many accessories does the machine have? How many muscle groups can you target? If you’re looking to ease pain and tension in a specific part of your body, make sure it has the appropriate attachment.
Cordless – It goes without saying that using a cordless percussion massager is much more comfortable than the alternative, especially if you’re usually on the go.
Intensity – Do you prefer a gentle massage or one that’s more intense? Just about all of the percussion massagers on the market have a range, but make sure your preference is in that range.
The shape of the handle – Is it long? Is it ergonomic? Will you be able to massage hard-to-reach places using a certain model?
Noise – Some machines operate at a noise level that is just above a whisper; others do the opposite. Is it important that the machine be quiet? When will you be using it?
There are all important factors to take into consideration before splurging on a brand new percussion massage gun.
Best Value: M3 Pro Massage Gun by Opove
This cordless percussion massager offers excellent value-for-money and is a favorite for several reasons.
The M3 has a high-torque motor and offers a stroke length of 12 mm. It’s the perfect percussion massager for reducing soreness, supporting recovery, and helping you increase your range of motion.
It has adjustable intensity and 3-speed levels: 1800 RPM, for a warm-up massage, 2400 RPM for muscle relaxation, and 3200 RPM for a deep massage, so you can switch up the pressure and the speed as needed.
The M3 Pro Massage Gun comes with four attachments allowing for different types of massage:
- For bulk muscle groups
- For a deep tissue massage or a more precise massage
- For massaging the spine, neck, and Achilles
- And for muscle relaxation and muscle plasticity
We also love how this massager is extremely quiet, thanks to a combination of its Quiet Guide technology together with the 24V brushless high-torque motor. The result? The noise is just 35 dB to 55 dB.
We also love its charging power. With the lithium-ion rechargeable battery, you can get up to 3 hours of massage per charge. We also love the feature where it turns off automatically after 10 minutes if you’re not using it.
This durable massager is made using special breakthrough technology as well as nylon 66 and glass fiber and resist falls of up to 7 feet without breaking. The company offers a 1-year warranty.
Best Advanced: Sonic LX Rotating Massage Gun
If you’re looking for a high-end option, the Sonic LX is a popular massager used by industry professionals, including therapists, chiropractors, and trainers.
This model has an impressive 2,000 mAh motor, which offers quick tension relief, 12 mm of amps for an intense deep tissue massage, and a range of percussion speeds, from 1800 to 3400 RPMs.
The battery runs for up to 4 hours on a single charge, so you can use it multiple times without having to worry about it failing you. It also comes in its protective case, which makes taking it on-the-go much more accessible.
It’s also easy to use as you can monitor and adjust intensity quickly during sessions. Other features we love include the LED display, the brushless motor (it runs at 55 dB), the battery level light, and the portable and rechargeable lithium-ion battery.
With ten interchangeable massage heads, users can target different parts of their bodies and attend to their specific massage needs. Attachments include:
- Round, which helps improve recovery and reduces muscle soreness
- Spinal, which loosens back tissue and boosts flexibility
- Bullet, which targets problem areas and can ease muscle knots
- Flat, which simulates a deep tissue massage
- Dome, which relieves pain in tender or sensitive areas, and
- Shovel, which helps back muscles and areas around the spinal column
Best Entry-Level: Mighty Bliss Electric Percussion Massager
For people who are on the fence about buying a massager or who don’t want to splash out a ton of cash but want to reap the benefits of these powerful handheld machines, this is the massager for you.
This model from Mighty Bliss is just as effective at increasing blood circulation, relaxing muscles, and getting those knots out of your back as the more professional-grade machines. This massager has a 3,700 RPM percussion motor, although it’s worth noting that it is moderately intense at its maximum setting.
With a super slim design, we love this massager because it’s lightweight and cordless so that you can take it pretty much anywhere.
It comes with six different massage heads, including a pronged deep-tissue massager head. It’s super effective at relieving pain all over your body, from your neck and shoulders to your feet and legs.
The rechargeable lithium-ion battery lasts for more than 2 hours on a single 1-hour charge, and the length of the massager makes it easy to reach even the most out-of-reach parts of your back.
Best Intensity: PulseFX Rotating Percussion Massager
If you’re looking for a very deep-tissue massage as intense as they come, you’re in the market for a PulseFX massage gun.
This is the perfect massager for bodybuilders, serious athletes, and anybody with a dense body mass. Compared with standard percussive guns, which have 10 mm of amplitude, the PulseFX comes with an impressive 16 mm. This means it offers more of an up and down pulsing sensation rather than merely vibrating. The result? This massager goes deeper, harder, and more intensely than any other one on the market.
This model has a 250W motor and is extremely powerful, offering a range of 1800 RPM to 3000 RPMs. It also has a long battery life, lasting up to 7 hours on a single charge.
This fitness massager also provides the body with relief, supports joints and muscles, and promotes flexibility
One of the aspects we love the most is that you can reach even hard-to-reach spots thanks to the combination of the easy-grip ergonomic handle and the adjustable angles. Hence, the massage head rotates in different directions. Also, the controls are built into the handle, letting you adjust the intensity and speed more easily.
This massager’s vibrations help wake up muscles and improve the body’s capacity to repair itself and regenerate cells. The result? Faster recovery and shorter downtime during training.
It comes with four massage heads and is one of the quietest massage guns on the market, with a noise level of around 60dB.
LifePro, the company behind this product, maintains that every massager is rigorously inspected to ensure it works perfectly. What’s more, they offer ongoing customer assistance so you can easily connect with a company representative if you have questions or concerns.
They also offer free personal training videos on their website, which are worth checking out.
Best Budget-Friendly: Nursal Handheld Massager
The Nursal is the perfect massager for people who want to reap all the benefits of this device without putting a dent in their wallet.
This model has a variable speed feature, which lets you choose from 5 adjustable speeds so you can modify the intensity quite easily. It comes with five interchangeable massage nodes as well, allowing users to switch them up for a different massage experience every time. These are the rounded head, the 7-point massage head, the flathead, the scratch massage head, and the curved massage head. It also has four massage modes so that the vibrations can be changed from intermittent to rapid.
We love the ergonomic design and especially the non-slip handle, which makes it very easy to grip and glide over different parts of the body. The buttons are very easy to toggle between, and the motor is powerful enough to offer a good tissue massage.
This massager automatically shuts off after 15 minutes to ensure that it doesn’t overheat.
The company also offers a 1-year warranty, so if you have any issues at all during that period, they will send you a replacement, free of charge.
Best Intermediate: Gocheer Muscle Massage Gun
For athletes and exercise enthusiasts looking for a super versatile percussion massager, the Gocheer’s for you.
This model is a real standout as it has 20 different speeds catering to all of your massage needs. This massage gun supports between 1200 and 3180 beats per minute, so it’s easy to find the right vibration to suit the issue you have.
It comes with four different interchangeable heads: a U-shaped option for the neck and spine; the bullet head for deep tissue massage, joints, and trigger points; the round head for large muscle groups; and the flathead for all parts of the body.
It uses a 2400mAh rechargeable lithium-ion battery and can be used for up to 8 hours at a time on a single charge, which takes just 4 hours. It’s also comfortable to hold and weighs only 2.2 lb.
Thanks to the latest technology in noise reduction, this is by far the quietest percussion massager on the market with a noise level of 35dB. Even when used at the maximum vibration amplitude, the noise level is incredibly low.
I also love the LCD touch screen, which shows how much battery is left and which gear and power level you’re using.
One of the unique features, though, is the automatic timing function. This percussion massager has intelligent timing protection, which means that it automatically shuts off after 15 minutes of use. It does this to help users avoid excessive massaging and damaging muscles or bones.
Best All-Around: HealthLab Massage Gun
This percussion massage gun has a lot going for it: It’s silent, powerful, has a long battery life, and comes with eight replaceable heads and 20 variable speeds.
This massage gun is soft and easy to grip, thanks to the outer silicone layer, and weighs just 2.2 lb. The noise level is also very, very low, in the 40 to 50 dB range, and it has an LCD touch screen.
This massager has a capacity of 2600 mAH, and a single, 90-minute charge lasts for up to 6 hours. We also love that the muscle stimulation comes with five replaceable heads, and the gun has a speed range of 2800 to 3500 RPM so that it can be adapted to all parts of the body.
The attachments include:
- Flathead, for the shoulders and neck
- Cylindrical head, for hips, legs, etc.
- Gas plug head, for softer body parts like the inside of the thigh
- Flower head, for the joints
- Spade head, for both sides of the spine
- Spherical head, for small muscle groups and local pain points
- Wedge head, for the spine
- Finders head, for muscle bulging
This is a popular massage gun among professionals, such as physical therapists and chiropractors, as it is incredibly effective at reducing stiffness and soreness and relaxing muscles. Given all of its features, it offers great value-for-money.
The company has a full 30-day refund policy if you’re not pleased with your purchase, as well as a 1-year guarantee if you have any issues in the first year.
Best Professional Grade: Theragun G3Pro
The percussion massage guns we reviewed above are all excellent choices, but if you’re looking for the crème de la crème, you’re looking for the Theragun G3Pro.
This gun is a favorite among professional deep muscle treatment experts as it’s back by over a decade of research and development and is the most advanced device for deep tissue massage on the market. It was designed by world-famous chiropractor Dr. Jason Wersland.
Theragun is popular among competitive athletes, chiropractors, trainers, physical therapists, and professional sports teams. Why does it stand out? Because it emits repetitive strokes into muscle 16 mm deep, 40 times per second, which is 60% more than vibration massagers and far better than other percussion massagers on the market.
One of its best features is its shape. This model has an ergonomic handle that is extremely comfortable and allows you to hold it using various grips and massage very hard-to-reach areas without causing strain on your wrists or fatigue in your arms.
We also love how quiet this gun is. A team of engineers from MIT was able to reduce the sound of this model by 50% compared with previous models from Theragun while still maintaining its industrial-grade motor.
As for other features, this percussion massager has 2 scientifically-tested speeds, an adjustable arm with 4 different positions, 6 attachments designed by professionals, and a rechargeable battery. The components are high quality and the gun has top-notch sound insulation.
The attachments include:
- The dampener, for tender areas or near bones
- The large ball, for large muscle groups (e.g. quads or glutes)
- The standard ball, for overall, general use
- The wedge, for shoulder blades or IT bands
- The thumb, for lower back or trigger point therapy
- The cone, for pinpoint muscle treatment
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Do percussion massagers really work?
A: Percussive therapy is an effective way to improve and accelerate muscle fiber repair through quick bursts of pressure into the tissues. This, in turn, boosts blood flow, relieves pain and improves range of motion.
It is also known to enhance flexibility, relax thickened connective tissue, break down internal scar tissue and improve circulation in the lymphatic system.
This type of therapy is popular among some of the world’s top athletes, including Marcus Peters and Kyrie Irving.
Q: Does percussion massage help cellulite?
A: Cellulite, which refers to the formation of lumps and dimples on the skin, is thought to be related to an interaction between the connective tissue and the layer of fat below it.
Percussive therapy is believed to be able to help break down the fat cells to reduce the appearance of cellulite as an alternative to liposuction, though studies are ongoing.
Q: Does vibration break up scar tissue?
A: After an injury, scar tissue forms in the body. When that tissue is activated by means of vibration waves through deep tissue percussive massage, the scar tissue starts to break up along with muscle knots, or bands of rigid tissue that cause inflammation and pain.
There are a lot of different percussion massagers out there as this novel approach to recovery really takes off. How do you know which is the right one for you?
We think the Theragun G3Pro is the best option currently. However, budget or certain features might be more important for you.
Percussion massagers are available in a wide range of prices and with many different variations and possibilities. Your best bet is to figure out exactly how you’ll want to use your machine and then work backward to find your ideal model.
While you might not know which one you’ll buy in the end, your decision to add percussive massage to your repertoire already guarantees that you’ll be feeling less pain and tension in your muscles and you’ll be getting back to the gym for another intense workout faster than ever.